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Celebrating Mark: The Heart and Soul of Excelsior

Mark in Excelsior using Reach for Resources in home support services

If you call Excelsior home or often visit the restaurant, Maynards, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Mark. Mark, a beloved long-time resident known for his friendly personality, handman skills and willingness to help others in his community. With a love for being busy and social, Mark has a passion for music, biking, cars and his community. His story is a great example of the profound impact community support and inclusion can have on a person’s life.

For over a decade, Mark has been supported by Reach for Resources through our In-Home Services. For the past four years, Mark has been working with Grace, Reach’s Community Living Specialist Lead, who he meets with once a week. Together they focus on a variety of activities from organizing his apartment to visiting the record store and swimming at the local community center. Currently, Mark is working on achieving a couple of major goals that include signing up for some Reach Adaptive Rec programs, attending a rodeo and if time allows, going to a major music concert in 2024. Already this year, Mark has completed a bucket list item by attending the Minneapolis Auto Show that took place at the end of March.

mark at the record store in home supports by Reach for Resources.

Over the four years, Grace and Mark have built a trusting relationship based on their shared love of music and adventure. During their visits, they love to listen to 60s/70s/80s Rock ‘n Roll including Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, the Bee Gees and anything with a good guitar rift. Mark is known for having great air guitar skills! When asked about working with Grace, Mark said, “We do fun things together. [I like when I] convince her to swim with me.” Grace said working with Mark makes her more social because he’s so involved in his community, and it’s helped her learn about fun things happening in the West Metro.

Recently, one of the most exciting things Grace and Mark have been working on is measuring Mark’s living room for new furniture. For over twenty years, Mark has lived in the same apartment. Ironically, the apartment building is owned by an elementary school classmate of Mark’s. Over the last few years, the apartment complex has been doing a few upgrades which has included new windows, doors and this spring, new carpet. As Mark prepares for new carpet, he is also purchasing a new couch and loveseat in the process – which he’s very much looking forward to!

In addition to new furniture, Mark is looking forward to testing out his new bike once he’s ready to retire his old one. Mark’s main mode of transportation is his bike. Whether he’s enjoying a long ride to Victoria to have a sweet treat at Dairy Queen, riding his bike to work at Maynards or over to his family/friends/neighbor’s house to help with handyman projects, he makes the most out of the nice weather. Last year, Mark’s goal was to ride 100 miles over the summer. Within the first month of summer, he had already reached his goal!

Speaking of summer, Mark is looking forward to how busy his job gets and picking up a few extra shifts. For quite a few years, Mark has worked three days a week in the kitchen at Maynards doing a wide variety of tasks. He loves his job, particularly his co-workers and regular patrons, when the restaurant gets really busy, and the employee appreciation events Maynard’s holds. When not at Maynards, Mark keeps busy with handyman jobs including helping maintenance at his apartment complex. This spring, Mark even joined the maintenance team on the roof of his apartment building to help them repair a leak. No matter how big or small the project is, Mark is always up to help!

Mark has been an interictal part of the Excelsior community since childhood. With his friendly, outgoing personality, working at Maynards and his willingness to help others, he brings joy to everyone in the community. Reach is lucky to be a part of Mark’s support system and help him as he works towards his goals. Mark’s story shows the importance of inclusion and the positive impact a community can have on a person’s life.

Thank you Mark for sharing your story with us!